Sheffield United are still well within the race for Europe this season, as just ten games remain in the Premier League season.
Just seven points separate fourth-placed Chelsea and Spurs down in eighth. Within that cluster of clubs, the Blades are well-placed to mount a serious challenge. Chris Wilder’s men sit just five points off Chelsea and, crucially, have a game in hand.
It promises to be an exciting run-in, then, in what is one of the more exciting races for Europe in recent times. Furthermore, things are made more interest by the fact fifth place could well see a Champions League spot awarded due to Man City’s European ban.
As most Blades will be aware, Sheffield United have a tough run-in. Make or break home games against the likes of Wolves, Chelsea, and Spurs are all to come. Meanwhile, United face tough away assignments at both Man United and Leicester City.
But with United facing a tough run-in, who are their nearest challengers up against?
We took a look at the final nine or ten fixtures for the Blades, Wolves, Man United, Spurs, and Chelsea.
Home – Bournemouth, Arsenal, Everton, Crystal Palace; Away – West Ham, Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Chelsea, Burnley
Wolves face Chelsea on the final day which could be crucial. However, they are also still in Europa League competition. It will, then, be interesting to see if Nuno Santo’s men eventually succumb to some fatigue.
Predicted points total – 14
Home – Bournemouth, Southampton, Sheffield United, West Ham; Away – Spurs, Leicester City, Aston Villa, Brighton, Crystal Palace
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have come into a patch of form of late and their win over Man City will give them confidence. Like Wolves, they remain in the Europa League.
However, they will be confident of winning all their home games while trips to Villa and Brighton should yield a good result. It’s highly likely that the Red Devils kick on now and start wracking the points up.
Predicted points – 20
Home – Man City, Watford, Norwich City, Wolves; Away – Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Liverpool, Crystal Palace, West Ham
Chelsea face a difficult run-in, in the main. Tough home games against Man City and rivals Wolves will provide a stern test for Lampard’s men. Meanwhile, they also go to Liverpool and travel to Bramall Lane in April. Those four games could really make or break the Blues’ season.
Predicted points – 15
Home – Man United, Arsenal, Everton, West Ham, Leicester City; Away – Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Bournemouth
Spurs are the one team who have seemingly gone into freefall. A number of injuries to key players and some unrest under Jose Mourinho has seen them plummet down the table somewhat.
They are now out of the Champions League though, so should be able to concentrate on the Premier League. However, they face tricky away days at Sheffield United and Newcastle United, as well as tricky home ties against Leicester and rivals, Arsenal. They also face Manchester United this weekend.
Predicted points – 12
Given those points totals, plus our prediction that the Blades will gather 12 points themselves, would see the final Premier League race for Europe ending like this.
4th – Man United – 65 points
5th – Chelsea – 63 points
6th – Wolves – 57 points
7th – Sheff Utd – 55 points
8th – Spurs – 53 points
It looks very much like the Blades’ home ties against Wolves, Spurs, and Chelsea will prove crucial to Chris Wilder’s men landing a European spot.